Martin Luther and Catholic Church

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Updated: Jul 01, 2021
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Martin Luther a German monk was born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Saxony, in modern-day Germany.(A&E Networks). He became a monk when he got caught in a horrendous thunder storm he promised God that if he survived that he would devote his entire life to the church and become a monk (Heal). Luther’s father, Hans Luther was a farmers son and later became a copper miner. Luther´s father wanted him to be educated and to study law. Luther’s father became disappointed when Luther decided that law was not his passion, but that religion was his passion. Instead he became what is known as one of the biggest influences of the Catholic Reformation according to many historians (Heal). He studied theology at Erfurt University in 1507 and religion for many years, he was very educated (Heal). Luther discovered many leaders at the catholic church were corrupt when he went to study in Rome. (A&E Networks). Even though Luther was controversial because of his antisemitic views and his more radical ideals, Martin Luther had a positive impact on the catholic church for uncovering corruption and translating the bible so more people could interpret it for themselves.

Martin Luther was disappointed and angry at the Catholic Church, because he seen how corrupt the catholic church was. In this time popes were acting more like kings and living lavish with riches and gold than living like church officials. Popes claimed to have both political and spiritual powers. They directed armies, made political friends and enemies, claim land, and even call for war (Heal).

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Pope Leo X called for the selling of more indulgences to build St. Peter’s basilica. Luther disagreed with the selling of indulgence and felt the only one who could decide the fate of someones soul it was God, not the pope or a church official. Selling indulgences is a practice where a church official where the church accepts a donation or charity work and would give out an indulgence, which guarantees the sinners soul will go to heaven faster by shortening the time one would spend in purgatory, If the sinner had committed no serious sins that promised their spot in hell (A&E Networks).

Luther wanted reform he felt the church was very corrupt and wanted it to change, so he wrote and released his ¨95 theses¨ which was a list Luther wrote propositions up for discussion, pointing out corruption and how the church needed to change. In his “95 theses” Luther talks about the overstepping power of the church, the selling of indulgence, and how the way into heaven is through faith and not good deeds. Luther posted his ¨95 theses” on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. This would be the first spark of the reformation of the church (A&E Networks). The Roman Catholic Church was very displeased with Luther and his writings and excommunicated him and deemed him a heretic. Three months after his excommunication Luther was called to the diet of the worms to defend himself and his beliefs in front of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. In 1521 at the diet of worms was pressured to recant his writings, Luther refused because he stood for what he believed in and when asked to recant he said “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen” (Heal). this could have resulted in his death had he not been protected by German princes. (A&E Networks)

Martin also translated The Bible so people could read the bible instead of a church official telling the common christian what it says, because corrupt church officials could sway the words of the bible to get what they want out of the common christian or to make them believe or think a certain way. Luther also wanted Christians to see that good deeds and donations to the church will not get you salvation, but your faith in God will. (Heal). At this time higher class people and nobles were the only ones who could read the bible. Luther wanted the common christian to be able to read a bible and interpret it themselves, because many common people did not have the education that the higher classes had and couldn’t read Latin (Heal). Luther could speak many languages including Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and had extensive knowledge in German. In 1517 Luther had finished translating parts of the Bible, psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, the Magnificat, and the Ten Commandments. In 1521 Luther translated the new testament based off of Erasmus’ second edition while he was imprisoned in Wartburg. (Heal) He finished translating the bible in 1534 and when released sold rapidly in German speaking countries and helped move forward reformation, because people were able to see corruption from false words from church officials who twist the bible’s. Common Christians could now interpret the word of god for themselves, which at this point in time it was a huge deal and an eye-opener. His translation shaped German language and sold 100,000 copies in forty years.

In conclusion Martin Luther positively affected the Roman Catholic Church by busting corruption by posting his “95 theses” which spoke out against corruption and spoke against the selling of indulgence (A&E Networks). Even though it could have costed him his life Luther still refused to recant his statements because the church needed change. He wanted people to read his opinions on corruption (Heal) Luther also wanted people to be able to think for themselves when it comes to religion so he translated the bible. Now people can read the bible and interpret it however they please (Heal).

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Martin Luther and Catholic Church. (2021, Jul 01). Retrieved from